Bangles, The - Doll Revolution (RSD2020)

Regular price $ 39.99

The Bangles were once upon a time a great band. When they first started out as fresh-faced kids back in the mid-'80s, they captured the jangle of the Byrds, the melody of the Left Banke, the attitude of the Shangri-Las, and the rich harmonies of the Mamas & the Papas (without the Papas, of course) and wrapped them all up in a sweet and catchy package. Their first album was a bright, shiny pop album full of all kinds of promise, which they thereafter either fulfilled or wasted depending on where you stood. Having a hit with the Billy Steinberg-penned novelty song "Walk Like an Egyptian," doing Prince songs (even though "Manic Monday" is a song that deserves its pop classic standing), hiring faceless session musicians to make the second album sound more in tune with the times: these all deserve votes for wasted. The rest of their career was strewn with one landmine after another, like Susanna Hoffs being picked out as the focus of the band because she was "glamorous," the terrible power ballad (and number one hit) "Eternal Flame," more cover songs as singles (even though "Hazy Shade of Winter" was pretty darn good) and finally, the bitter breakup. So far it is not a story unique to the Bangles. Nor is the eventual, inevitable reunion. Doll Revolution is the result of the Bangles' re-formation. It would be nice to tell you that it was a triumphant return. It would be nice to tell you it was an interesting return. Sadly, it is neither. It is a bland, overproduced, and safe-sounding record that fails to leave much of an impression at all. Sure, all the things one would expect from a good Bangles album are here -- jangling guitars; full, sweet harmonies; and earnest, emotional lead vocals. All that is lacking are songs. There are a couple that are decent, like "Ask Me No Questions," a sweet Debbi Peterson sung ballad, and "Ride the Ride," a catchy Hoffs folk rocker, but mostly they are forgettable or worse. Picking Elvis Costello's recent self-derivative song "Tear Off Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution) to cover as the lead track was a mistake. Michael Steele's songs sound like they should be on a different band's record, the dark lyrical themes and clunky music drag Doll Revolution down. As do Hoffs' MOR soul "Something You Said" and her weak power ballad "I Will Take Care of You," which sounds like an attempt to duplicate the success of "Eternal Flame." The rest of it sounds like a solid attempt at a Sheryl Crow record, and that is something the pop world did not need from the Bangles. Doll Revolution won't add much to the Bangles' legacy. It won't do much to ruin it, either, perhaps that is the most fans of the band should have hoped for.

Tear Off Your Own Head (It's A Doll Revolution) 3:57
Stealing Rosemary 3:32
Something That You Said 4:16
Ask Me No Questions 3:26
The Rain Song 3:41
Nickel Romeo 4:57
Ride The Ride 4:48
I Will Take Care Of You 3:56
Here Right Now 3:24
Single By Choice 3:41
Lost At Sea 3:55
Song For A Good Son 4:01
Mixed Messages 3:19
Between The Two 3:42
Grateful 4:59